Citi’s Fintech for Governments

Citigroup is getting into government work. Guess it’s better than fighting the financial regulators left and right. Linking up with some heavy tech names kind of puts Citigoup in a whole new league. Nice strategy.

Joining Microsoft, IBM, Facebook and such and such to fight fraud and bribery in government sounds like superhero stuff. But the initiative, called Citi Tech For Integrity Challenge, will seek to find ways to use new fintech technologies in fighting government abuses. Citi joins some great company to partner with too so look for some great new ways to streamline old and stodgy ways of doing business. (Bill Taylor/CEO)

“Citigroup Inc. this week is launching a joint effort with software giants and startups to find ways to use new financial technologies to combat fraud and bribery in government services.

The initiative, called Citi Tech For Integrity Challenge, will partner Citigroup’s public-sector group with tech companies including Facebook Inc., International Business Machines Corp., and Microsoft Corp., and startups globally, the bank said. The aim is to help programmers at tech firms to develop new applications using Citigroup’s and the partners’ software for governments to do things like detect and block illicit payments, protect financial data, or help deliver aid to poor or crisis-hit regions.

The initiative is the latest example of broadening “fintech,” which has so far focused largely on new tools for consumers, like online loans or mobile payments. Banks also generate billions in revenue from corporations and governments, so finding ways to apply technology to those businesses would justify big investments.

That includes finding ways to apply technologies such as mobile payments apps, photo-recognition software, blockchain—the networking system originally developed for bitcoin, but which banks have spent hundreds of millions trying to apply to their own businesses—and artificial intelligence to government payments systems. These systems often use technology to manage the government’s payment process, but ultimately then deliver funds in cash that isn’t trackable.”

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